River Cruise Itinerary for The Mekong: From Laos to China | Pandaw.com
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SEE IT ALL, FROM LAOS TO CHINA, YUNNAN PROVINCE

THE MEKONG: FROM LAOS TO CHINA

14 NIGHTS FROM US$4,708.80
SAVE UP TO 10% AND NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT ON SELECTED DATES

For the first time it is possible for travellers to sail on the mighty Upper Mekong River from Laos to China or vice versa. This will be an incredible, pioneering 14-night river expedition discovering charming villages, stunning scenery, pristine jungle, the Golden Triangle and the very different emerald green Mekong in China's Yunnan province. Our journey also includes overnight stops in Luang Prabang, Chiang Saen and Jinghong.

The river recces sail aboard a Pandaw, specifically designed and built for sailing on the Upper Mekong with low draft and extra powerful engines.

Pandaw's founder, Paul Strachan, said: “it has been a long held dream to sail the length of the navigable sections of the Mekong River; now we can. There is much to explore in this undiscovered region; travellers need to be up for a real adventure as the daily itinerary might change, but with a flexible attitude will have the adventure of a lifetime”.

Please note this expedition is NOT suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

We are also offering pre and post cruise extensions visiting Kunming, Dali and Lijiang in Yunnan Province and the Plain of Jars in Laos.

IMPORTANT NOTE: These are reconnaissance voyages and the itinerary is indicational only subject to daily revisions and many a change. Travellers should be up for a real adventure and be prepared for such uncertainties. This will be the first time a river expedition ship will have made this expedition and there may be delays at border crossing points when dealing with formalities. Travellers who might find sudden changes of plan or delays stressful should not book this trip. Our guides will do their best to ensure that we cover as much of this indicational itinerary as possible but some excursions may be changed for others. We can assure we will see and do as much as we can, hopefully more than indicated in the itinerary below.

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14 NIGHTS FROM US$4,708.80
SAVE UP TO 10% AND NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT ON SELECTED DATES
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IMAGES

EXPEDITION MAP

YOUR SHIP

EXTENSIONS

POST CRUISE EXTENSIONS

Scenic Yunnan Province - Post

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OPTIONAL PACKAGE ADDONS

Private Dining

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Pre-Bookable House Wine Package

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Free Flow Drinks

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Free Flow Drinks & Wine Package

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ITINERARY

Upstream      Downstream

DAY 1 VIENTIANE

PLEASE NOTE: The itinerary for this expedition is indicative only and subject to reconnaissance. As we travel to remote areas, changes to the itinerary will inevitably occur. A flexible approach is required if you book this cruise.

Embarkation 12.30, followed by lunch and afternoon exploration of the delightful French city including visits to the golden Pha That Luang Stupa, Sisaket Temple, the President’s Hall, Wat Prakeo Temple and the Phatouxay monument. Set sail late afternoon, enjoy a welcome dinner on board and overnight near Vientiane.

More about Vientiane

DAY 2 CRUISING THE MEKONG

Cruise upstream on the Mekong, passing lush jungle scenery and tiny riverside villages. Morning presentation on the Lao language. Afternoon cooking demonstration on the upper deck. Arrive in Ban Xanakham to moor overnight.

More about Cruising The Mekong

DAY 3 PAK LAI

Afternoon visit to the French administrative town of Pak Lai with many colonial buildings and a bustling local market. This town boasts the largest elephant festival in South East Asia, usually in February.

More about Pak Lai

DAY 4 BAN PARK BOR VILLAGE

Morning visit and walking tour to Khamo tribal village, a typical village, set on the banks of the Mekong amidst lush jungle. In the afternoon pass through the Xanyaburi Hydro Electric Power Plant.

DAY 5 BAN MOUANG KHAI VILLAGE - LUANG PRABANG

In the morning visit a Hmong village and continue upstream to the village of Ban Mouang Khai. Afternoon sightseeing by minibus visiting the jungle pools and dramatic Khaung Si waterfall then on to a butterfly garden. Arrive in the heart of the temple city of Luang Prabang where there is a buzzing night market and many great cafes and some good local restaurants.

DAY 6 LUANG PRABANG

In the morning explore by tuktuk this well-preserved and unique world heritage site with its many Buddhist temples, libraries and royal palace. Visit the National Museum and have the afternoon free to explore the beauty and unique atmosphere of Luang Prabang on your own. Enjoy traditional Laos dancing on the upper deck late afternoon. Moor overnight in Luang Prabang.

More about Luang Prabang

DAY 7 PAK OU CAVES

Early morning walking tour to see the alms offering by the local people to hundreds of monks who walk around the city every morning. Passengers are invited to join in with offerings we provide for the alms giving. Morning sightseeing by local boat exploring the unique Pak Ou Caves and Elephant camp, a Buddhist sanctuary with spectacular limestone cliff faces. Evening cocktails on a sandbank. Sail upstream on the beautiful Mekong towards Ban Bo.

More about Pak Ou Caves and Nam Ou River

DAY 8 PAK BENG

Morning visit to a local Khamo village. Sail upstream on the Mekong passing Pak Beng towards Pak Sit.

More about Pak Beng

DAY 9 BAN HOUAYXAY

Early morning walking tour in a Khamo village then cruise through stunning scenery to the border of Laos and Thailand. The night is spent on the Lao side in the Huay xay area where we take a late afternoon village walk.

DAY 10 THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE

In the morning transfer by bus to the smuggler city of Tachilek in Burma where we will visit the "extraordinary" market (essentially one massive duty free area) and the Tachilek Shwedagon Pagoda.

After lunch a visit to the Hall of Opium. The Golden Triangle used to be infamous as one of the largest producers of opium. Various Thai organizations led by the Royal Project and Doi Tung Development Project have spent decades battling this trade. As part of this campaign, the Hall of Opium was built to educate people about the dangers of the drug through an entertaining exhibition which traces opium’s history from its first use 5,000 years ago to current issues of drug abuse and addiction.

To end the day meet at the Buddha Statue at the Golden Triangle to take in the view over the three bordering countries Thailand, Laos and Burma. Overnight in Chiang Saen.

More about Golden Triangle

DAY 11 BAN DOM MOON

Leaving behind the bustle of the Golden Triangle return to a Mekong that is now narrower and faster than anything encountered so far on this journey. Afternoon walk around the Pok Lok village followed by a talk by our guide on the region’s ethnography.

DAY 12 SOB LUOY PROVINCE

Visit Ban Pak Keo, its villagers and walk up a small hill adorned with a pagoda and enjoy the beautiful view over the Mekong.

Stop at Ban Na Kor (Sob Luoy Port) in the afternoon and sail on to a remote sand bank to moor for the night. Canapés and cocktails are served on the sundeck followed by local Laos folklore stories and traditional floating fire lanterns.

DAY 13 GUAN LEI

In the early morning continue by speed boat up the white waters, through the gorges, to cross into China at Guan Lei Port in the morning. Free time there to walk and explore before passing immigration. Then transfer by road to Jinghong to overnight in a four-star hotel.

DAY 14 JINGHONG

Jinghong was founded in 1180 by Tai King Phanya Coeng. Its turbulent history has been influenced by Thai, Burmese and Chinese occupations, which can be seen in its buildings and the local language.

In the morning we will visit the fascinating Tropical Plant Institute, a vast garden with over 13,000 plant species and 35 exhibits. Continue to Manting Park, the oldest park in Xishuangbanna, dating back 1300 years. Previously a Dai Imperial Garden, the park's attractions include the opportunity to learn about the culture of the Dai people. Manting Park is also called 'Chunhuan Park' which means the place where people can have relieve their mind and soul of all earthly worries.

On the final evening in Jinghong, experience an evening cultural show at Maxmumbani, where dancers from 38 different ethnic groups display their traditions with acrobatics and fascinating story of China and its people.

Overnight in hotel.

More about Jinghong

DAY 15 JINGHONG

After breakfast transfer to the airport or your hotel in Jing Hong.

More about Jinghong

EXPORT ITINERARY AS PDF Go

WHATS INCLUDED

Cruise Price Includes: Entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes. Transfers from Luang Prabang airport/hotel to ship in Luang Prabang (until May 2019) or Vientiane / Udon Thani airport/hotel to ship in Vientiane (as of September 2019) v.v. Transfers from Jinghong airport/hotel to ship in Jinghong.

Cruise Price Excludes: International flights, port dues (if levied), laundry, all visa costs, fuel surcharges (see terms and conditions), all beverages except local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes and tips to tour guides, local guides, bus drivers, boat operators and cyclo drivers.

TRANSFERS & JOINING

DAY 1 VIENTIANE

Transfers included from airport or hotel in Vientiane or Udon Thani. We suggest an early morning arrival. Any late arrivals will also be transferred to the ship but you might miss lunch and/or the afternoon excursion. If staying at a city hotel in Vientiane you will be picked up between 11.00 am and 12.00am.

Please Note: There is a surcharge for private transfers if you are not able to meet us at above scheduled pick up times.

Vientiane Jetty - Land River Transport Enterprise, Thadeua Road km4, Sisattanark District.

DAY 15 JINGHONG

Check out after breakfast and morning transfer to Jing Hong airport or city hotel.


TESTIMONIALS

TRAVEL BLOGS

The flowers of Yunnan: in the land of the plant hunters

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Shocking truth - the scourge of electrofishing

As explored previously in in this blog Mekong's Xayaburi Dam , the $3. 5bn hydroelectric installation due for completion in 2019 has been h.... read more

 

Pandaw - First Tour Operator to sail on The Mekong into China

Pandaw River Expeditions has become the first Western operator to reach China's Yunnan Province via the Mekong River, when the RV Champa Pandaw .... read more

 

Rite of passage: Champa Pandaw conquers first big challenges

There's something very exciting – not to say nerve-wracking – about the maiden voyage of a new ship. Dispatches from our new build supervisor Ca.... read more

 

MEDIA MENTIONS

Sabaidee Pandaw successfully completes river trials

03 Sep 2018 - article by Rebecca Gibson for Cruise & Ferry

 

Going with the flow: River cruising has never been more popular

01 Mar 2016 - article by Jo Andrews for the Daily Mail UK

 

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